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NIAA to honor Southern Nevada Top 10 student-athletes

Nearly every school has the high-performing student. The one who hopes to be an engineer, a doctor or a lawyer and carries the high grade-point average in honors classes while still managing to do community service on the side.

Nearly every school has the standout athlete. The one who earns state championships and puts in countless hours of practice time to become better on the field of play.

Every once in a while, the top student and standout athlete are the same person. The one who somehow manages to maintain the GPA and excel at sports, all while squeezing in that community service on the side.

Each year the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association along with Lifetouch National School Studios and the Southern Nevada Toyota Dealers honor those who manage to excel in the classroom and on the playing field by naming their Top 10 Student-Athletes of the Year.

The NIAA will honor the Southern Nevada Top 10 at a banquet at 6:30 p.m. Monday at The Orleans. The winners will receive a $500 scholarship and other commemorative awards.

Following is a list of this year’s winners:

Charles Bennion, ClarkBennion has earned 11 varsity letters in basketball, cross country and track for the Chargers, all while volunteering at several places. He helped the basketball team to consecutive Division I-A state titles in 2014 and 2015, and was selected the team’s Most Valuable Runner in cross country three times. In track, he has qualified individually for the region meet in each of his first three seasons. Bennion, who has a 4.74 weighted GPA, plans to serve a two-year church mission after high school prior to attending Brigham Young University.

Nathaniel DeVera, The Meadows — A standout football and track athlete, DeVera has earned a total of eight varsity letters for the Mustangs. He was a finalist for this season’s Wendy’s High School Heisman and will graduate as an AP Scholar. DeVera, who has a 4.97 weighted GPA, has served as the President of the National Honor Society, his school’s Theatre Club and the local youth chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. He hopes to continue an athletic career in college while studying in the field of engineering.

Connor Friel, Tonopah — A three-sport standout, Friel has earned 11 varsity letters in his time with the Muckers. He was selected the league’s Most Valuable Player in baseball after his junior season and was a two-year captain on the football team. Friel, who has a 4.24 weighted GPA and is a member of the National Honor Society, is a four-year recipient of Tonopah’s Honor Roll award and was the school’s 2013 winner of the Academic Excellence award. He plans to attend UNR to study criminal justice.

Bailey Gosse, The Meadows — Gosse has earned 12 varsity letters for the Mustangs when taking into account her participation on the varsity cheer team as a freshman. She was a three-time state medalist in cross country, a two-time all-Southern League first team selection in basketball and a three-time individual state champion in track. An honor student at The Meadows with a 4.16 weighted GPA, Gosse also is a member of the National Honor Society and was a state finalist for this season’s High School Heisman award.

Delaney Gosse, The Meadows — Delaney Gosse has earned a total of nine varsity letters and has been a four-year varsity cheerleader. She is a seven-time state meet medalist in track heading into this spring season and holds the division’s high jump record. Gosse, who has a 4.16 weighted GPA, has participated in student council the last three years and is a program leader for Best Buddies and Opportunity Village.

Raciel Jimenez-Vazquez, Sunrise Mountain — Jimenez-Vazquez has been a top five goal scorer in all three years of varsity participation on the boys soccer team. He is ranked fourth of 560 in his class with a 4.47 GPA, and is a regular volunteer at several local hospitals. Jimenez-Vazquez, who coaches youth soccer teams in the Las Vegas Valley Soccer League, would like to continue playing soccer in college while studying engineering.

Linda Luchsinger, Chaparral — Luchsinger earned eight varsity letters in bowling, cross country and track with the Cowboys and was a member of the cheerleading squad for three years. She was named the Most Valuable Performer in cross country as a junior, and was selected three times as the Most Valuable Performer in track. Luchsinger, who holds a 3.75 GPA, is ranked sixth of 476 seniors. She has coached cheer at various middle schools and is a volunteer for the Special Olympics track and field championships.

Mackenzie McCoy, Las Vegas — McCoy is a seven-time varsity letter winner in soccer and swimming, and a three-year captain on the school’s flag football team. She was selected to the all-Sunrise Region soccer team twice and was named an all-league performer in flag football as a junior and senior. McCoy, who is ranked No. 1 in her class with a 4.80 weighted GPA, has served as the class president in each of her four years of high school and is a member of the National Honor Society. She plans to attend Brigham Young University in the fall and major in psychology.

Michaela Morris, Coronado — A standout four-year soccer player, Morris earned seven varsity letters in her time with the Cougars. She was named the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year this season after leading her team to a state final appearance by scoring the most goals in Southern Nevada. Morris, who is a valedictorian candidate with a 4.75 weighted GPA, also helped Coronado to region team titles in track the past three seasons and is a volunteer at Glen Taylor Elementary School, St. Thomas More Community Church, Three Square Food Bank and the St. Theresa H.I.V. Outreach Center. Morris will attend UNLV on a soccer scholarship and pursue a career in the medical field.

Brooks Roe, Boulder City — Roe earned nine varsity letters in basketball, football and track for the Eagles and was a captain in each sport during his senior year. He was named first team all-state as a quarterback after his junior football season. Roe, who has a 3.60 weighted GPA, won his basketball team’s Defensive Player of the Year award twice, and is a two-time state championship meet qualifier in track in the hurdles. Roe is a four-year Honor Roll student. He plans to attend Dixie State in the fall.

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